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Ready for four new Nissan sports cars?

  1. Nissan will have not two, not three, but four sports cars in its line-up within five years, says company vice president Andy Palmer.

    Palmer confirmed that the next-generation GT-R and 370Z replacement will be joined - providing the economic climate remains favourable - by production versions of the IDX and BladeGlider concepts.

    “ ‘Phenomenal’ would be the word,” said Palmer when asked about the response to the two design studies. “The reaction is strong enough that we put both cars into our five-year plans. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll take five years to get there…”

    How will the four fit together? “IDX represents one end of the spectrum, Bladeglider another end of the spectrum,” says Palmer. “And then in the middle you’ve got your traditional lower end sports car [the 370Z replacement], and the GTR as your higher-end sports car.”

    So what do we know about the Nissan quartet? Palmer revealed fresh details on all four. Here, from most expensive to cheapest, is what we know…

  2. BladeGlider

    Developed from Nissan’s work with the Delatwing and ZEOD race cars, the triangular BladeGilder will be, in Palmer’s words, “a full-electric [sports car], 70 per cent weight distribution to the rear, handles like nothing in this world.”

    It’s a car, he says, that will reengage with a generation for whom the car - especially the sports car - has been demonised as a polluting monster. “I wanted to create guilt-free fun, just the best-handling sports car you’ve ever driven, but with zero emissions.”

    Palmer says that, in the BladeGlider’s case, an EV powertrain is an aid rather than hindrance. “Batteries actually help, because you can get a lot of weight way down and way back, and that fits with [Deltawing designer] Ben Bowlby’s work with us on that wing type of concept.”

    “The biggest issue wasn’t the technical challenge. It’s getting people to believe that it’ll work. But it does. It drifts neutrally, you just point it where you want to go…”

  3. GT-R

    The all-new GT-R “won’t be a beautiful, sleek Emerge or anything like that,” says Palmer. “It’ll be more a mechanical look. It’ll be brutally aggressive.”

    Palmer confirmed, as TG reported last year, that the GT-R will benefit from hybrid power. “We’ve registered the trademark ‘R-Hybrid’,” he says. “For ‘Race hybrid’.”

    When asked about the performance aims, Palmer simply replied: “Six minutes fifty-six, isn’t it?” That’s a reference to Nurburgring lap times: the Porsche 918 went round the Green Hell in 6m57, so it looks like the next GT-R is could go even quicker than Stuttgart’s hyper-hybrid. Strewth.

  4. Z-car

    The replacement for the 370Z will remain in the traditional front-engined, rear-drive mould. “As an animal, it will stay true to Z,” confirmed Palmer. Will it get a downsized turbo petrol engine? “You could easily imagine that would be a way to go, yes.” Which is exec-speak for ‘definitely’.

    “Just like today, you’ll have your normal Z and your Nismo Z, so that gives us some room for expansion. Like today, it will still be a two-seater.”

  5. IDX

    The cheapest of the four, this ‘rear-wheel drive, relatively low-cost alternative on a sports car’ was previewed by the ‘Freeflow’ and ‘Nissan’ concepts in Tokyo, with the brown Freeflow apparently a closer indication of the production IDX.

    “I wanted to create something that was like a sports car was when I was a kid,” says Palmer. “A bit of a bad boy…”

    The Tokyo concepts saw compact four-cylinder engines mated to continuously variable transmissions. Palmer confirmed it was unlikely the production IDX - which will definitely remain rear-drive - would get a manual gearbox.

    “I would expect them to be some kind of semi-automatic, meaning you’ll have some kind of manual intervention. I would expect them to be either an AMT [automated manual] or DCT [double-clutch] type of transmission, or a CVT but with software gearchange so it feels like a manual…”

    So which of the four are you most looking forward to?

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